Kitten season has arrived in the New Braunfels community! For those unfamiliar, kitten season is the time of year when community cats are most likely to reproduce due to warmer weather conditions. Kitten season typically lasts from early spring until late fall but sometimes even longer in warmer weather climates like ours here in Texas.
During the busy kitten season, one of the most common problems we encounter at HSNBA is people bringing in litters of kittens that they believe were abandoned by their mothers. Unfortunately, in many cases, the kittens were not abandoned at all but instead were awaiting their mother to return from a hunt. Our community is full of kind-hearted people who want to help. But did you know that the best way to help most young kittens is to actually leave them alone so that their mother can care for them until they are big enough to be spayed or neutered? That’s right! Check out the informative chart below to learn more:
When kittens are first born and until they are around 4-5 weeks old, they rely on their mothers for absolutely everything. Kittens under a month old are unable to regulate their body temperature, eat on their own, or even eliminate bodily waste without their mother’s help. Nursing kittens is tough work! In most cases, the absence of a mother cat from a group of kittens suggests that she is out hunting to provide for herself and her offspring. It is not unusual for mother cats to be away for several hours while hunting. Although the mother cat usually remains in proximity to her kittens even during hunting, she is unlikely to make herself visible to humans out of fear.
Because it is so common for mother cats to leave their kittens for hours at a time, we encourage everyone to leave kittens alone if you discover them without their mother. We understand how difficult it can be to leave them be, but it’s important to remember the mother cat is likely nearby and is HIGHLY unlikely to return to her kittens if she can see you around, as to her, you could be a threat. We know people have good intentions when bringing young kittens to the shelter, but taking kittens from their mother REDUCES their chances of survival. Humans are good at a lot of things, but we absolutely cannot care for kittens as well as cats can. We try our best, but we are not cats. Let mama do her job!
So, what do you do when you come across kittens in the community? Here are two important questions to ask yourself:
What condition are the kittens in?
If the kittens appear to be clean and healthy, with little movement or noise coming from them, mama is likely just out for a hunt – leave the kittens be! However, if the kittens appear to be thin, restless, dirty, or covered in fleas, then the mother has likely been gone for longer than usual and may not be coming back at all. In this situation, human intervention is absolutely necessary to ensure the kittens’ survival, and HSNBA is here to help you. Our finder-to-foster program will equip you with all the resources you need to care for orphaned kittens. We will provide you and the kittens with food and litter supplies, age-appropriate vaccines and dewormers, flea/tick medication, and we will provide spay/neuter services when the kittens are ready to be adopted. In addition, we will give you the guidance and training necessary to provide the critical care orphaned kittens need to survive.
Want to learn more about the finder-to-foster program and how it can help you save orphaned kittens in the New Braunfels community? Great! You can reach our Cat Program Coordinator by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have they been alone for a long time?
Kittens are usually fine on their own for several hours at a time. However, if the mother has not returned after more than 8 hours, the chances of her returning are slim. Just remember, the mom might see you as a threat, and if you are too close, then you could be the reason she isn’t returning to her kittens. As said before, the kittens need their mother; but if you are sure she is gone, and it has been more than 8 hours, then it is in the best interest of the kittens to receive your help.
Please remember, if you come across kittens in the community and you’re unsure of what to do, HSNBA is available to provide our guidance, experience, and resources to those in need of help. You don’t have to make the decision all alone! You can reach us Monday through Friday from 8 AM – 5 PM and Saturday from 10 AM – 4 PM by phone at (830) 629-5287 or by email at email@example.com. We are here to help!
Caring for young kittens is a job for the entire community – you can’t do it alone and neither can HSNBA. Want to learn more about how YOU can make a difference in the lives of kittens in your community? Check out our foster webpage!